In recent weeks, the official release day for all music worldwide almost quietly moved from Tuesday in the U.S. to Friday everywhere. Previously, new music also debuted Fridays in Australia and Mondays in the U.K. The reason, as recently reported by Brian Mansfield in the USA Today, is fairly simple: With music being consumed differently today via streaming and online sources, the old “bricks and mortar” methodology has largely become obsolete. The only real wonder is why this change did not happen sooner.
Previously, retailers could sell through initial demand early in the week and still have time to gauge continuing interest and order more in time for the weekend. The new model, however, is necessitating these same retailers anticipating that demand in advance and pre-ordering in appropriate numbers accordingly.
Another dynamic, reports Mansfield, is how bands touring worldwide will overcome the challenge of a uniform release date when, previously, according to Keith Caulfield of Billboard, “they could appear in Australia, then Europe, then the U.S. to maximize their visibility throughout the week, as the album was released” via a staggered schedule.
On the positive side, says Tom Becci of Universal Music in the USA Today piece, when a new song leaked on a Thursday or Friday before a Tuesday U.S. release, weekend pirating ramped up dramatically. A universal Friday debut date, he feels, will lead to more legal downloads and, in turn, less demand for illegal fare.
Like anything else, time will tell and an evolving marketplace will continue dictate what changes and what stays the same – a bit akin to the movie industry where the hottest new movies, forever released on Fridays afternoon/evenings, are now more often unveiled 12-13 hours earlier at midnight, in order to maximize buzz and weekend box office takes. Like anything else in marketing, its all about adapting to demand and to the wants and needs of your audience.